Navy SEAL hopes to make Northwestern football team

Posted at 10:21 AM, Aug 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-11 10:33:50-04

You’d think Tom Hruby’s life would be busy enough as a 32-year-old Navy SEAL with a wife and three children ages 4, 3 and seven months.

Instead he’s trying to walk on to Northwestern’s football team, competing against scholarship athletes who are at least a decade younger.

A typical summer day for Hruby, who earned his Trident in 2006, begins with strength training in Evanston, Illinois at 6 a.m. and runs until his last class finishes at 8:30 p.m., according to the Chicago Sun Times.

Hruby now serves as an instructor at Great Lakes Naval Station while he tries to join the Big Ten program. He saved up all of his leave so he can participate in the Wildcats’ three-week training camp, and hopes for playing time this season on special teams.

Hruby is often asked why he would join a football team of players at least a decade his junior. Football isn’t necessary to earning a Northwestern degree. After undertaking the most fearsome military training, why add the pain of 6 a.m. lifting sessions?

Because Hruby still has more to prove to himself, which is a head-scratcher to most. Only a few who understand — his wife, Jen, and his SEAL Team chief David Goggins among them.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s just what’s the next challenge?” Goggins said. “Without a challenge in front of guys like Tom, what’s the point of living?

“That first six months [of SEAL training], they want to see what you’re made of. Tom has always had that character in him.”

Hruby always eyed military and college football careers, though a couple misguided teenage years nearly derailed both.